SUPREME COURT SAYS POLICE CAN’T USE GPS TRACKER WITHOUT SEARCH WARRANT

Police often are in a situation where they suspect that a person is involved in criminal activity, yet don’t have the evidence to prove it. One way for the police to gather evidence is to follow that person to see if he makes contact with other individuals involved in criminal activity. In our automobile age, a GPS tracker has been the tool of choice for law enforcement to monitor the movements of suspects. However, on January 23, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that police may not place a GPS tracker on an automobile without first obtaining a search warrant.

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the government’s installation of a GPS device, and its use to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search, meaning that a warrant is required. “By attaching the device to the Jeep” that the Defendant was using, “officers encroached on a protected area,” Scalia wrote.

The best criminal defense attorneys will always look for ways to suppress evidence that has been illegally obtained by law enforcement, because the United States Constitution protects individual liberty against unreasonable search and seizures.

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